Mountain communities form climate alliance

Monday, 25 August, 2014 - 17:18

KATHMANDU: Mountain communities in Nepal have joined their hands to form an alliance in order to save mountain ecosystem which, they said, is more vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change.

Formally announcing a 17-member Climate Alliance of Himalayan Communities (CAHC) on Friday evening, Chairman Ang Tshering Sherpa said that there is an urgent need to aware local communities in the Himalaya region on the impacts of climate change.

“Mountainous people have already started feeling heat of the global warming,” Sherpa said referring to the fast-melting of snow as well as the rapid occurrence of avalanches on the mountains.

According to him, global warming has hit the cycle of mountain ecosystem resulting into water scarcity and displacement of local settlements, among others.

“The alliance aims to preserve the entire Himalayan region and its natural and cultural heritages, making communities aware on issues of climate change,” he said.

He added that activities including trekking and mountaineering are also under threat as global warming causes a sudden change in temperature along the traditional mountain trails and trekking routes. Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation Mahesh Acharya applauded the communities for their greater efforts in bringing the local stakeholders together to deal with the cross-cutting issues.

“The government is ready to support the alliance to achieve its goals,” he added. Stakeholders believe that the new initiative will certainly help to expedite national and local level adaptation activities across the country. “The alliance can play a vital role in terms of local level adaptation to the climate change,” Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Shuresh Man Shrestha said. Saying that the Himalayan glaciers are prominent feature of Nepal’s climate, Director General at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) David James Molden urged the alliance to advocate for climate change issues actively in target areas.

“ICIMOD is ready to offer its full support to the alliance,” he said. More than twenty Constituent Assembly members representing the mountainous region also vowed that they would raise the issues of climate change in the Parliament and demand formulating necessary policies and programmes.

The alliance aims to carry a credible voice of mountain communities on social and environmental issues to the leaders of country and to the wider world. It also has plans to demand transparency and accountability from the agencies responsible in exploitingresources in the name of Himalayan communities and Himalayas, CAHC said.

According to ICIMOD, mountains which provide essential ecosystem services and play the role of water towers to billions of people living in downstream slopes, valleys and plains, cover around 24% of the Earth’s land surface and host about 13% of the world population.

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